Foucault’s 1973 lectures On The Punitive Society are forthcoming in English in
June August 2015. I have a review of the French text at Berfrois (open access); and a review essay forthcoming in Historical Materialism (preprint here).
These thirteen lectures on the ‘punitive society,’ delivered at the Collège de France in the first three months of 1973, examine the way in which the relations between justice and truth that govern modern penal law were forged, and question what links them to the emergence of a new punitive regime that still dominates contemporary society.
Presumed to be preparation for Discipline and Punish, published in 1975, in fact the lectures unfold quite differently, going beyond the carceral system and encompassing the whole of capitalist society, at the heart of which is the invention of a particular management of the multiplicity of interweaving illegalisms.
The lectures, which stand as an essay in its own right, bring together hitherto unpublished historical material concerning classical political economy, the Quakers, English ‘Dissenters,’ and their philanthropy – the discourse of those who introduce the penitentiary into the penal – and the moralization of the worker’s time. Through his criticism of Thomas Hobbes, Michel Foucault offers an analysis of civil war that is not the war of all against all, but a ‘general matrix’ that makes it possible to understand the functioning of the penal strategy, the target of which is less the criminal than the social enemy within. On the Punitive Society is one of the great texts recounting the history of capitalism. Our human sciences prove to be, in the Nietzschean sense, ‘moral sciences.’
The page on Palgrave’s website is now available, and it’s also available via Amazon. Thanks to Chathan Vemuri for the Amazon info; and Jeremy for the updated publication date.